Advocacy Update: Top Things to Know This Week

May 22, 2023

76th World Health Assembly underway

The Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly (WHA76) is currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland from May 21–30. GHC is on the ground to participate in and track the official proceedings, connect with GHC members and other civil society organizations, and host and attend a range of side events. Topics expected to be discussed are universal health coverage and pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response are likely to dominate discussions among Member States at WHA76, along with discussions on how to improve and strengthen the global health architecture.

Below are a few links to help you track all of the WHA76 happenings:

U.S. announces $250 million planned contribution to the Pandemic Fund

On May 19, at the G7 Leaders Summit, President Biden announced that through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. plans to provide a $250 million contribution, subject to congressional notification, to the Pandemic Fund to demonstrate the U.S.’s ongoing commitment and leadership to strengthening global health security. To date, partners have pledged over $1.66 billion in support of the Pandemic Fund, with the U.S. government pledging $450 million in support of the fund.

Global Frontline Health Worker Resolution introduced 

On May 12, the Global Frontline Health Worker Resolution (H.Res.389) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution, championed by Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Jen Kiggans (R-VA), acknowledges the essential contributions of frontline health workers to recovering progress and further expanding and sustaining gains in global health and strengthening U.S. national security and global economic prosperity. Global Health Council endorses the Global Frontline Health Worker Resolution, which reaffirms health workers’ vital role in strengthening health systems and achieving global health goals. For more information, please reference the press release

One-year anniversary of the Global Health Worker Initiative

On May 11, the White House celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Global Health Worker Initiative (GHWI) to protect and support health workers; expand the global health workforce and accelerate economic development; advance equity and inclusion; and drive and invest in technological advancements and innovation. The GHWI has delivered concrete outcomes, including protecting health workers by prioritizing their access to vaccines and personal protective equipment, working to safeguard health workers from violence, and expanding paid employment to name, among others.

Bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act introduced 

On May 11, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child (Reach) Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to strengthen U.S. efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in low- and middle-income countries by 2030. The full text of the bill can be viewed here.

House Republican appropriators layout markup schedule 

On April 27, House Republican appropriators announced their plans to conduct Subcommittee and Full Committee markups from May 17 to June 15. The House Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is expected to mark up its bill the first week of June. The full schedule can be found here.

House and Senate introduce bill and resolution on World Malaria Day

Senate Resolution 170, introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roger Wicker (R-MI) outlines several key malaria statistics in morbidity and mortality, and reaffirms the Senate’s support for World Malaria Day, public-private partnerships, and continued U.S. leadership in bilateral and multilateral malaria control and elimination efforts. House Bill 2854, introduced by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), French Hill (R-AR), and Susan Wild (D-PA) require the Administrator of USAID to submit a report on progress relating to malaria reduction, and for other purposes.

G7 Leaders Summit held

On May 19-21, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), met in Hiroshima, Japan for their annual Summit. They released the G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué which noted their renewed strong commitment to developing and strengthening the global health architecture (GHA) with the World Health Organization (WHO) and reversing the first global decline in life expectancy. They also released the G7 Hiroshima Vision for Equitable Access to Medical Countermeasures which confirmed the G7 member’s commitment to work towards equitable access to medical countermeasures (MCMs) for health emergencies.

Civil Society Board Members and Alternate Board Members to the Pandemic Fund Governance Board

On May 17, full-term civil society representatives to the Pandemic Fund Board were confirmed. The Global South civil society will be represented by Aida Kurtovic, Executive Director of South-Eastern Europe Regional HIV and TB Community Network as Board Member and Diah S. Saminarsih, CEO of Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI)) as Alternate Board Member. The Global North civil society will be represented by GHC’s President & CEO, Elisha Dunn-Georgiou, as Board Member and Loretta Wong, Deputy Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy of AIDS Healthcare Foundation as Alternate Board Member. The Pandemic Fund Governance Board will be reset at the end of May 2023.

UNGA holds multi-stakeholder hearings on health 

On May 8-9, the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convened a series of multi-stakeholder hearings in preparation of the High-Level Meetings on Universal Health Coverage, Tuberculosis, and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response. The hearings brought together representatives of Member States, observers of the General Assembly, representatives of local governments, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, and more to contribute to the ongoing preparatory process for the High-Level Meetings, which will take place in September during the General Assembly in Septe.

KFF releases factsheet on the President’s Malaria Initiative and other U.S. government global malaria efforts

On May 2, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released a factsheet on global malaria efforts which examines the U.S. government’s role in addressing malaria worldwide, including current programs, funding, and key issues. The fact sheet highlights that U.S. funding for malaria control efforts and research activities was approximately $1 billion in FY23, up from $822 million in FY13, and that the U.S. is the largest donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which in turn makes it the largest overall funder of malaria efforts in the world.

Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response releases report

Titled A Road Map for a World Protected from Pandemic Threats,  the report calls on political leaders to commit to reforms in six essential areas, in order to transform the international system for pandemic preparedness and response, including international rules for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response; independent monitoring; an equitable, operational ecosystem for pandemic countermeasures; sufficient financing for preparedness and for crisis response; an independent, authoritative WHO; and sustained political momentum.

WHO releases the largest global collection of health inequality data

On April 20, the WHO launched the Health Inequality Data Repository (HIDR), a comprehensive global collection of publicly available disaggregated data and evidence on population health and its determinants. The HIDR allows for tracking health inequalities across population groups and over time, by breaking down data according to group characteristics, ranging from education level to ethnicity.